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Farther than Jerusalem, Farther than the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
July 28, 2017

If the issue of Jerusalem and the fate of the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem is not an impetus for the Palestinian Authority, what else will motivate it to defend its people?

We fully agree, with all positions that consider the occupation authorities and the Netanyahu government, responsible for the explosion of situation in Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem's Noble Sanctuary.

As the basis of the case is the occupation, if there wasn't an occupation there wouldn't have been an issue in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

All Palestinian people's positions in resisting the occupation with all forms, are no more than normal reactions to the practices of occupation army, and its torture and abuse to the Palestinian citizens, the destruction of their lives, the confiscation of their land and their water resources, the destruction of their economy and the blocking of establishment of their independent state with full sovereignty, and the disruption of return of refugees to their homes and property.

The reactions of Palestinian people and their resistance against the occupation are legitimate, and with the demise of occupation and the return of rights to their owners, the map of relations necessarily will change.

However, it is not only the occupation responsibility for what is happening in Jerusalem; we have to check the official Palestinian position, especially in assessing the reactions of Arab and Islamic countries to the "arresting" of the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem by the occupation authorities, and their facilitating of invasion of settlers to it.

So, condemning the heroic operation against occupation forces and apologizing to Netanyahu for what happened, as if it was a crime committed by Palestinians, as if it was an obstruction for the normal life in the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem, gave the occupation a reason to close all entrances of the Sanctuary by electronic gates, which is a step was done by Israel not only to improve its repressive security measures against the Palestinian people, but also to affirm, in practice, that "Great Jerusalem" is the capital of state of Israel, and that the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem, like the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, is under the authority of Israel, and that Israel has the right to impose its orders, regardless of the sanctity of the place, and the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic public opinion.

To change the unordinary step to normal and ordinary one, so that worshipers and visitors will be accustomed to it. As what happened with the Ibrahimi Mosque when it was divided into two places, in which the occupation authorities confiscated most of it and turned it into a synagogue. So it will not be strange if the yards of Al-Aqsa to become a place of Jewish prayer, and thus the principle of sharing the Sanctuary will be devoted.

It is not about defending a religious place as Al-Aqsa, but it is about defending the whole Jerusalem, and every inch of the Palestinian land, which occupation plans to confiscate, and turn it into a matter of reality, that is accepted by Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims.

As a result of feeling guilty which affected the Palestinian Authority and its president and led to the condemnation of what is going on in Jerusalem, the protesting voice of PA seemed low and sometimes absent. As neither the presidency called on the Arabs, Muslims and their regional and international institutions to support the Palestinian people in defending its capital and sanctities. Nor the foreign ministry of PA has mobilized its diplomatic capabilities in a campaign to defend the Palestinian right. Only a single statement issued by the government of Hamdallah, during a time when everyone knows that such a statement does not have the capacity to act, under the absence of upper class of PA from the scene, and its preoccupation with other things. It is no secret that this official silence in Ramallah and the deadly paralysis of PA's diplomatic establishment and foreign ministry are political measures to not "disrupt" the American move to resume the bilateral negotiations. It is also no secret that this silence, falls within the framework of commitment of Palestinian Authority and its president to freeze the Palestinian diplomatic and political movement towards international institutions and to freeze the movement to internationalize the Palestinian national rights and issue. Therefore, the Fatah Central Committee was absent from the scene, and the Executive Committee, by a decision of its president, also was absent from the stage of operations and action and even from the scene of verbal protest.

As for the Department of Negotiations in the Executive Committee, which in practice replaced the Department of Political Affairs, appears to be busy in preparing the necessary files for negotiations, including the commitment of Palestinian negotiator to a plan of action to implement the nine Greenblatt's conditions.

It is difficult for the observer to read the positions of Palestinian Authority and its retrogressive behavior toward Jerusalem, apart from its general policy which it has begun to crystallize, under the terms of Trump, as provided by Greenblatt.

President Abbas made his decision when he stressed, more than once, that he would be keen on the success of the Trump initiative for a settlement in the Middle East.

When he confirmed elsewhere that he considers himself as a partner for Trump in his Middle East policy. Practically, this means that the commitments of Palestinian side and negotiator which are imposed on him through, the conditions, by the US administration, will be prioritized over his national obligations toward the national issue and rights, as determined by the PLO's legal bodies. This means also that we are about to witness a new political strategy, under the leadership of President Abbas, more regressive than its predecessor, with more waivers that would undermine many of the national promises, and sacrifice with many political and diplomatic gains in favor of adhering to the political ceiling of the US administration in addressing the issue of Middle East.

If we realize that the political project, as proposed by the US administration, is very vague, lacks clarity, and does not carry any balanced ideas, we realize the danger of being behind this project. Also, if we realize that this project is being developed in consultation with the Israeli side and according to Israeli recommendations and demands alone, we realize the danger of diving into the American quagmire, and its risky eddies.

What is happening in Jerusalem, is an Israeli barbarity, and an inability of PA to respond - even politically and diplomatically, by heading to the Arab and Islamic circles, the United Nations, the Human Rights Council and other relevant institutions - shows how far the political will of Palestinian negotiator is infected, and the extent to which it is constrained by conditions and obligations that harm the Palestinian national rights and cause , and deepen the situation of uncertainty in the street, in the ability of this leadership to assume the responsibilities required for the major national files and to safeguard the sacrifices of decades of Palestinian national struggle, from being slaughtered for free, on the table of incompetence of Palestinian leadership, and on the table of submission to American solutions.

We believe that things have entered a more complex stage, in which the national project is exposed to real and practical risks.

On the other hand, we believe that the time has come for the national and democratic forces, concerned with the interests of their people, their national rights and assuming the burden of historical responsibility, to formulate a practical formula that will enable the mobilization of a pressing political and public situation to deal with the process of regression and concessions.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawan Al-Bash
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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